Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five. One of the major factors contributing to the high risk of diseases and deaths in premature infants is the incomplete development of the intestinal immune system. The gut microbiota has been widely recognized as a critical factor in promoting the development and function of the intestinal immune system after birth. However, the gut microbiota of premature infants is at high risk of dysbiosis, which is highly associated with adverse effects on the development and education of the early life immune system. Early intervention can modulate the colonization and development of gut microbiota and has a long-term influence on the development of the intestinal immune system. This review aims to summarize the characterization, interconnection, and underlying mechanism of gut microbiota and intestinal innate immunity in premature infants, and to discuss the status, applicability, safety, and prospects of different intervention strategies in premature infants, thus providing an overview and outlook of the current applications and remaining gaps of early intervention strategies in premature infants. This review is focused on three key concepts. Firstly, the gut microbiota of premature infants is at high risk of dysbiosis, resulting in dysfunctional intestinal immune system processes. Secondly, contributing roles of early intervention have been observed in improving the intestinal environment and promoting gut microbiota colonization, which is significant in the development and function of gut immunity in premature infants. Thirdly, different strategies of early intervention, such as probiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation, and nutrients, show different safety, applicability, and outcome in premature infants, and the underlying mechanism is complex and poorly understood. Copyright © 2023. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.